Barbra Streisand is taking Orthodox Jews to task for treating women as second class citizens in Israel.
The singer was in Israel on Monday to receive an honorary doctorate in philosophy from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. While there, Streisand made it clear the problems she has with how some women were treated in the country, specifically among the Orthodox Jewish community.
“It’s distressing to read about women in Israel being forced to sit in the back of a bus or…having metal chairs hurled at them when they intend to peacefully and legally pray,” Streisand said, per Reuters. “Or women being banned from singing in public ceremonies.”
Streisand’s remarks drew some controversy to what is already a contentious topic. Women’s rights groups in Israel have fought for women to have the right to pray alongside men at the Western Wall where they have traditionally been barred.
Barbra Streisand compared the situation to the United States where gender inequality still lingers. Women make only 80 cents on the dollar compared to men in America, she noted.
This is not the first time Streisand has delved into the issue. In 1983, she starred in the movie Yentl, which showed the struggle of Jewish women to achieve equality with men.
The 71-year-old Streisand remains politically and socially active and has not slowed much in her career either. She has continued performing — and has two concerts scheduled during her trip to Israel — and recently appeared at the Oscars to pay tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch.
“Marvin Hamlisch was a composer of extraordinary depth and versatility,” Streisand said. “He was also a very kind and generous friend who could always make me laugh. Over the years, we shared many adventures together. Marvin left us way too soon, but I’ll always have those wonderful, wonderful memories.”
Barbra Streisand has a chance to air her grievances about women’s rights in Israel with a powerful source. While on the trip, she’s schedule to perform for Israeli President Shimon Peres on his birthday.